April 4 Amazon.com Inc launched a new
product named Amazon Dash on Friday that allows the user to add
groceries and household goods to their shopping lists using the
company's AmazonFresh service.
A black-and-white hand-held wand-shaped remote-control
features a microphone, speaker as well as a bar-code reader and
links directly to the user's AmazonFresh account.
However, the device is available only for users of the
AmazonFresh which currently operates exclusively in Southern
California, San Francisco and Seattle. The device is free during
the trial period, according to the product's website.
However, signing up for Amazon Dash is by invitation only
while the AmazonFresh service is currently available only
Southern California, San Francisco and Seattle.
The online retailer has been steadily expanding towards
electronics manufacturing businesses, starting with the Kindle
e-reader which was first launched in 2007, and the Fire TV
streaming set-top box announced earlier this week, even as it
seeks new ways to energize a gradually slowing core retail
Amazon has been steadily expanding its "Fresh" online
grocery business, targeting one of the largest retail sectors
yet to be upended by online commerce. The company has plans to
launch AmazonFresh, which has operated in Seattle for years, in
roughly 20 urban areas in 2014, including some outside the
A successful foray into groceries could also help
underwrite the development of a broad-based delivery service
employing Amazon trucks to deliver directly to homes, which
could have implications for UPS, FedEx and other
package delivery companies that currently ship Amazon goods.
Still, groceries have proven to be one of the most difficult
sectors for online retailers to manage successfully. One of the
most richly-funded start-ups of the dot-com era, Webvan, was a
spectacular failure as the cost of developing the warehouse and
delivery infrastructure proved overwhelming.
Amazon was unavailable for comment regarding the public
availability of the device.
(Reporting By Narottam Medhora in Bangalore and Edwin Chan in